Turkey and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) enjoy a “very positive agenda,” a Turkish Foreign Ministry official said on Friday.
“Turkey highly appreciates the ‘ASEAN Way’ and cherishes it. Recognizing the ASEAN’s central role, Turkey has been steadily developing relations with ASEAN,” said Nilvana Darama, a senior ministry official.
“Turkey and ASEAN enjoy a very positive agenda,” said Darama, who was addressing an event hosted by the Embassy of Malaysia in Ankara as chair of the ASEAN Ankara Committee.
Founded on Aug. 8, 1967, ASEAN, which has grown to more than $2.5trillion in gross domestic product, promotes inter-governmental cooperation and facilitates economic, political, security, military, educational, and socio-cultural integration between its ten members and other countries in Asia.
This year, the 54th ASEAN Day is being celebrated under the theme of “We Care, We Prepare, We Prosper”.
Darama said Turkey proposed sharing expertise and experience on development and increasing cultural contacts between Turkey and ASEAN member states.
“Turkey would like to enhance our cooperation with individual ASEAN countries,” she said, adding Turkey was a “major contributor in humanitarian aid” at bilateral levels besides sending medical relief to the region.
“Turkey’s final objective is to become a full-dialogue partner (at ASEAN) and we wish to have more active, direct and result-oriented engagement with the group,” the official asserted.
She said ASEAN represents “unity and solidarity among its member states.”
“For more than half a century, ASEAN has been recognized for its contributions to peace, stability and prosperity in its region and beyond… Today, ASEAN has become a point of reference (but) achieving this level of success was no easy task,” she asserted.
- ASEAN, ‘major focus of Turkey’s Asia Anew Initiative’
ASEAN, said Darama, “has developed a resilient ecosystem of peace.”
“The environment of peace and stability that it created in Southeast Asia has positively improved the wider region and beyond,” she said, suggesting ASEAN has “become one of the best examples of regional ownership.”
“It has inspired and become a model for most of regional and inter-regional processes,” Darama added.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry official said ASEAN is a “major focus of Turkey’s Asia Anew Initiative” started two years ago under the directives of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“Asia Anew has become more institutional recently with the establishment of Directorate General at Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, specializing on Turkey’s new Asia perspective,” she added.
Last month, Ankara hosted ASEAN-Turkey trilateral meeting as well.
“Our real potential should be tapped with collective efforts. Increasing high-level bilateral visits and re-energizing bilateral cooperation mechanisms will be instrumental in elevating relations to higher levels,” she said.
- ASEAN at Antalya Diplomacy Forum 2022
Sazali Mustafa Kamal, Malaysia’s ambassador to Turkey, said in his opening remarks that ASEAN Day marks date of the formation of regional grouping.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Kamal said, ASEAN has taken upon itself to “care for our people and each other’s well-being; preparing for future opportunities and challenges and prospering together as a unified region.”
“We value these aspirations and their importance in our collective efforts to recover from the pandemic COVID-19,” Kamal told the event which also saw the participation of ASEAN’s 11 dialogue and sectoral partners.
He said ASEAN Ankara Committee is “pleased with” the outcome of the ASEAN-Turkey trilateral meeting.
“ASEAN member states are ready to play our part and contribute in the projects and ideas as mooted during the meeting, among others, ASEAN’s involvement in the Antalya Diplomacy Forum and the proposed ASEAN Week for the next year,” Kamal said.